Monday, April 23 – 1900
The curtain was rung down at Anfield amid glorious surroundings, suggestive more of cricket than football, and the display witnessed was an average sample of what might be anticipated at this period of the season. Neither side had any incentive to undue exertion, and whatever there might have been was neutralised by the heated state of the atmosphere.
No wonder that the players were languid under such torrid conditions, and instead of serious football, one had perforce to be satisfied with a varied assortment of trickery, unlimited gallery play, and a fairly interesting ensemble, without any really determined effort to gain goals. There were two or three notable exceptions to this generalisation, but the majority preferred to indulge in mild methods, which, to say the least of it, were more in accord with the temperature.
The only goal of the match resulted from a penalty kick, though it only right to mention that Charles Satterthwaite’s shot, which was fisted out preseumably by Jim Iremonger would undoubtedly have scored, and it appeared as if the ball had actually entered the net before the full back drove it again into play. The game scarcely calls for serious comment, but to the home supporters, the fact of the victory adding another couple of points to the club’s credit, is sufficient cause for satisfaction. It is almost safe to assert that had there been no penalty kick there would have been a division of honours at the finish.
The home forwards did not move with anything like their customary precision, and instead of making towards their opponents’ goal, the time was uselessly spent in dodging about with the ball at their feet, with the usual finish that a Forester stepped in and obtained possession. Then would recur the same performance on the part of the Notts front rank, whilst by way of a change the ball would be whipped out of the extreme wings, who relieved the monotony somewhat by a flash along the touch line. But goals did not appear to be the one end and aim of all this finessing. It was no doubt less exacting to trick and turn and dissemble about the halfway line than to engage in stirring rushes from one goal to another, and, on the other hand, it was probably just as pleasing to the spectators to gaze dreamily at the sport, and, lulled by the warm breezes, think with satisfaction that they were not compelled to even such exertion as was shown by the combatants, but could cooly view the marvellous meanderings and tricky touched of the respective sides.
That the Forest forwards are adepts in controlling the ball was proved most decisively, and the centre forward Grenville Morris was one of the notable exceptions who entered into the struggle with vigour, and it is possible that he was demonstrating what he would have done that afternoon at Crystal Palace had not a little accident at Sheffield caused by unwarranted attentions of the now Cup-holders, upset the arrangements. He had some delightful tussles with Alex Raisbeck, who, by the way, did not seem overburdened by the imprtance of the occasion, and the Liverpool centre half was initiated into a few mysteries and show the solution of some problems in a manner not usually witnessed. The clever Welsh international displayed sufficient prowess to mark him as the most dangerous forward on the field.
The home front rank did not show to advantage, but John Walker was in no mood for levity, and would persist in trying to score. The others careered along gaily at times, but Satterthwaite was presumably taking early lessons in finessing; which so impressed the remainder that much emulation arose, and Billy Dunlop on two or three occasions dribbled up amongst the attackers only to be ignominiously dispossessed at the finish, and the ball taken from his toes before he could, as it were, extricate himself. Similar doings on the Notts right wing gave the younger William Goldie a splendid chance of distinguishing himself, and he rarely allowed Fred Forman and Jack Calvey to circumvent him.
The full backs on both sides kicked stronly, and, as they were not too hardly pressed, some long returns were indulged in. Archie Goldie played steadily along, and Dunlop was rarely at fault, but it is a matter for conjecture whether it is actually necessary for this clever back to announce his coming with a whirlwind rush by that earsplitting yell which seems to have become stringly developed of late. Both custodians showed great resource in dealing with the very few, though difficult, shots they had to contend against, and one save by Bill Perkins from Arthur Capes when the former with outstreched hands tipped a splendid ball outside the uprights, was a remarkably clever effort.
Thus ended the season at Anfield, begun badly but finished firmly. Undulating, indeed, has it course been, first in the lowest depths, then on the more level surface, and at last has even begun to steadily ascend. The club is now safe for another season of First Division football, and, considering the calibre of the players, it would have been nothing less than a calamity had any other result happened.
(Liverpool Mercury, 23-04-1900)